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Paired with fresh corn and tomato salad, sticky ribs make for a super-easy yet tantalizing backyard meal.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

When I lived in Boston, I discovered that the Fourth of July was the second-biggest holiday meal in the U.S. after Thanksgiving and ribs are one of the popular items to serve.

My favourite take on them is sticky ribs - just include a few great salads and the work is done.

Marinate the ribs first, then cook with water in the oven until tender. Glaze when ready and finish on the grill.

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Servings: 6

Ingredients

4 racks baby back ribs

Marinade

6 cloves garlic, crushed

¼ cup Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili flakes

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup water

Honey-balsamic glaze

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method

Place ribs in 2 large plastic bags or dishes. Combine garlic, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, chili flakes and oil in a bowl. Divide in half and pour over ribs. Marinate for 8 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 325F. Transfer ribs to roasting pan. Add ½ cup water to each pan and cover tightly with foil. Roast for 1½ hours or until ribs are fork tender.

Pour cooking liquid into a pot along with balsamic vinegar, honey and soy sauce. Place over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Cool. Brush sauce over ribs.

Preheat grill to medium. Turn off one element and grill ribs over indirect heat for 10 minutes a side or until sticky. Serve with remaining glaze.

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